Having been in been in the SEO industry for a while now, it still staggers me how the UK SEO industry still seems to turn its nose up at SEO for small businesses.
SEO conference after SEO conference runs through all sorts of great stuff about building great content, relationships, and links, but with strategies that take a serious amount of time and investment, which for the small business are just out of reach!
According to the Federation of Small Business, at the start of 2018, there were an estimated 5.7 million businesses in the UK which employed 23.9 million people, and had a combined turnover of £3,800 billion!
For more on this, please click here.
Surely this is a huge business opportunity, THE biggest business opportunity the SEO industry has, so why spend so much time running through strategies that work great for the likes of Direct Line and moneysupermarket.com when in reality these are not most businesses?
My post makes 4 observations as a newbie to the industry – some maybe a little controversial?
I also make 4 predictions relating to small business SEO and where the industry will move.
I entered the search engine optimisation industry that was reeling from the Google Panda and Penguin updates; from an outsider’s point of view, an industry in clean-up mode – because it had been caught cheating.
Out with the ‘easy’ quick win spam tactics, and in with the ‘hard’ content is king strategies.
More than once I heard comments about how these Google changes have effectively ‘priced’ the small business out of the SEO market.
How can that be right, for isn’t SEO just about being the most relevant in your niche and just being better than the others?
So my first year of SEO conference attendance made me an expert in how to clear up the mess of dodgy tactics (always done by another agency!) and highly involved content and relationship building strategies.
This was all fair and good, but none of it was really relevant to small business looking to promote their business online:
This really just left me highly frustrated, why is the industry spending so much time talking about search engine optimisation solutions to problems not being faced by the majority of UK businesses – the small businesses?
Backlinking can play a critical role in effective SEO. To find out more, please click here.
To be honest, I can understand why many people do not talk about small business SEO, it is not very sexy and the scope available to do stuff is generally much more limited.
But who cares if it’s not sexy if this is where the market is shouldn’t we be focusing here and be getting more creative?
There are lots of ways to market your small business at the great team at Forbes explores this in their article – Inexpensive Marketing Ideas For Small Businesses
My final observation relates to a separate issue, that of a poor customer service experience by many small in their dealings with companies (or local web design companies doing a bit of online optimisation).
Why do I say this:
We’re working with a large Business Grants provider who has discussed SEO with 1000’s their enquirers (who are all SME’s). The biggest complaint about the SEO industry is poor customer service – “I just did not know what they were doing”.
So whilst this is not ‘search engine optimisation’, I do feel this is a symptom of the industry’s attitude towards small businesses, for if you value someone’s business good customers service almost comes as a matter of course.
If bad service leads to a customer leaving a bad online review, would you know what to do? Click here to find out more!
Local SEO is growing, Google Trends showed a steady increase in the searches for this phrase, and the US has an expanding Local search engine optimisation market which was recently highlighted when SEOMoz bought GetListed.org, the free local directory listings checking tool.
Local SEO is really small business search engine optimisation, as the majority of small businesses will be working in a geographical radius from their location; so to me, all the pointers are that this niche will grow within the UK.
Find out more about the importance of marketing in your local area for all small businesses right here.
Much of the work we now do with clients fall out of ‘search engine optimisation’ but moves into other activities and processes that will just drive more clients.
Whether it be getting a call to action on their website and free download to build their database, to email marketing, to collecting customer reviews, to doing a company video; to help with press releases, and more.
With the recent Facebook outage showcasing why it’s important not to put too many eggs in one basket, check out why e-mail marketing should not be overlooked by clicking here.
Small businesses generally do not have much cash, so, therefore, many activities will only be done if they do it.
The problem they have though is not knowing what to do or having the structure to enable them to do these tasks quickly and efficiently.
I can, therefore, see the agency’s role for small businesses evolving to where they map out activities for the client to do, then monitor and feedback the results.
If this is an area in which you struggle, please take a moment to visit – Maximizing Your Time as a Small Business Owner: How to Operate Efficiently and Effectively
As the industry matures this can only but improve; I’m sure if motorway service stations can do it the SEO industry can!
Follow these 6 Keys to Improving Your Team’s Customer Service Skills to help ensure that your customer service team is skilled, empathetic, and engaged